Zhejiang merged into wave of opening and development: 15 years on
Despite its relatively small geographic size, China's eastern coastal province of Zhejiang has had a huge impact in its role as a center for international trade.
Zhejiang Province accounts for just 1.1 percent of China's landmass, but last year it ranked fourth out of China provinces in terms of the volume of imports and exports.
One of the key factors that have made Zhejiang an economic success story is what is known as the "eight and eight strategy".
Originally put forward in 2003 by Xi Jinping when he was then secretary of the CPC's provincial committee in Zhejiang, the "eight and eight strategy" calls for provincial authorities to give development a boost by making full use of the province's eight key advantages to develop eight important sectors in the economy.
A container terminal of the port of Ningbo-Zhoushan in east China’s Zhejiang province is seen in this photo taken in May 2017. [File Photo: Xinhuanet.com]
One of the focus points for the strategy was the development of the Ningbo and Zhoushan ports, which included the merger of the two ports into a single trading center.
Xi Jinping said that the development of the province relied on the development of its ports.
"Zhejiang has developed rapidly. This success comes from the development of the port. The further development of Zhejiang will still depend on its ports. From now on, we should focus on the establishment of the ports, the key of which is the Integration of Ningbo and Zhoushan."
The port of Ningbo-Zhoushan is now the world's busiest. One billion tons of cargo passed through the port last year.
Ni Yanbo, who is in charge of production safety in Ningbo Zhoushan port group, says that for every 100 containers passing through the port, 40 of them are carrying goods being traded with countries taking part in the Belt and Road Initiative.
"From 2014 to 2017, the number of shipping lines along the route of the Belt and Road has been extended from 74 to 86. The number of containers has risen from 8.4 to 10 million a year. The port now serves as an important transit hub for shipments from Southeast Asian countries to international trade point including Japan, South Korea, and North America."
At the end of last year, around 180 of the world's top 500 enterprises had established operations in Zhejiang. The number of enterprises with foreign investment in Zhejiang adds up to over 61,000 and they have contributed more than 190 billion dollars of foreign investment.
Che Jun, secretary of the CPC Zhejiang Provincial Committee, says they have set new goals for the continued development of the region.
"By 2020, international trading patterns and the international investment environment will by-and-large have been established. We will further expand our global market share and set up a base for the production and marketing of high-quality products, which will act as a magnet for high-quality foreign investment."